Well, my dear friend Mu and her family will be in sunny Florida this coming week. She'll be lying by a pool, sipping a cold drink, blissfully at peace while I make my way, without her, through this cold upcoming week of snow, ice, wind, and gray skies. But I'm happy for her. Really. 'Cause that's what friends are for: they are there to be happy that at least one of you is under the sunlight even if the other isn't. And Mu needs the sunlight even more so than I do. I've never minded gray winter days as long as I can be indoors in a warm house with a hot pot of tea and a writing project or a good book to read.
We were talking at the Italian restaurant we were at, Friday, about our friendship. I don't think anyone would have thought to pair us up as friends, years ago, because we really have little in common. I had forgotten that. We laughed as we realized we really shouldn't have made it as friends. I like to read, putter around in my house, think about cleaning, knit once in a while, write, and teach seminars. Mu will read but mainly for the purpose of information gathering, she cleans her house fastidiously but says she's not cleaning enough (if she's not cleaning her house enough, then I really am not doing it enough), and she's on top of all bills, paperwork, and filing not only at her house but at her part time office job as well.
What we have in common is more a similar outlook than anything else. It's the way we look at things, our perspective, that is so compatible. I see how she looks at things. I understand what motivates her, what angers her, what cause her alarm. She knows what gets me in a tizzy, what gets me inspired, what makes me want to give up. For some reason we just "got" who the other person was, very early on in our friendship.
It's simply a gift from God. And even the friendships I've had over the years, friendships that hurt, friendships that failed- these are a gift from God too. But of course I can say that now, with years of perspective under my belt and a sigh of relief that I've learned a thing or two. What I've learned about friendship has more to do with what friendship isn't. It isn't a cure-all for the heart's ache that is meant to lead us to God. Friendship isn't about avoiding pain, truth, or problems.
When friends are in the best mode- understanding each other, caring for each other- we see God's grace, feel His love, understand His heart's desire for us to be encouraged to go onward in this life. The best of friends have the best of God's plan at work in their friendship: redemption, forgiveness, and grace.
If you add in lots of laughter, the kind of laughter that causes your stomach muscles to hurt for days, then I'd say you are a blessed person. And if you don't yet have the kind of friendship where God's redemptive love and grace permeate the relationship, start looking to flow in grace, walk in grace, all the while yearning to share that love of God with someone who could very well be your dear friend. Cause after all, if you have no earthly habits and interests in common, you do both have a heavenly Father who loves you.
That's a good starting point, right there.